Friday, October 15, 2021

Category: Global Economy

Saudi Arabia to launch special economic zones for cloud computing and manufacturing

Saudi Arabia plans to create special economic zones, which provide incentives to invest in sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, and cloud computing.

Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi Minister of Investment, announced that more details about the areas and hooves they provide will be announced once they receive final approval later this year or early next year. He added that officials are also ready to review taxes and fees and grant certain exemptions to enhance the country’s competitiveness.

Al-Falih considered that the investment in the Kingdom was “less than expected… We want to attract foreign capital, and return the Saudi capital, which did not find opportunities in the Kingdom earlier.”

technology transfer
The foreign investors that Saudi officials want to attract are those who will transfer technology and expertise to the Saudis, according to Al-Falih.

In turn, Sarah Al-Thari, Advisor to the Ministry, said that one of the areas of focus is health care, life sciences, and biotechnology, with the aim of transforming into a global destination for companies by providing research and development areas and manufacturing centers.

The International Monetary Fund: The growth of the Saudi non-oil economy will rise to 4.3% this year

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to turn the kingdom into a global business and investment hub as part of “Vision 2030” to diversify the economy away from oil.

On Monday, officials revealed a plan to boost foreign direct investment to 388 billion riyals ($103 billion) by 2030 from 5.5 billion dollars last year, while raising domestic investment to 1.7 trillion riyals.

The International Monetary Fund Council meets today to decide the fate of its president

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund plans to consult on the fate of Bank President Kristalina Georgieva on Monday after discussions Sunday with her and with a law firm alleging improper actions while working at the World Bank, according to a person familiar with the conversations.

The board, which includes 24 directors representing 190 countries in the fund, is trying to complete consideration of the issue as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank begin their annual meetings in the presence of finance ministers, as well as central bank governors from around the world in Washington on Monday, and it includes dozens of events.

Sunday’s board meeting with law firm WilmerHale will go on for several hours in the afternoon, according to the insider, who requested anonymity due to the privacy of the conversations.

“The board made significant additional progress today with its evaluation, and plans to complete its consideration very soon,” said Jerry Rice, a spokesman for the fund, in a statement Sunday, confirming that the board had met with both the law firm and Georgieva.

for China?
The council met with Wilmer Hill and Georgieva last week as well. Members discuss an audit conducted by the law firm for the World Bank, based on a review of 80,000 documents and more than 30 interviews. She accuses Georgieva of pressuring employees to manipulate data in favor of China in the annual Doing Business report when she was a senior official at the development bank. Georgieva, who joined the International Monetary Fund in 2019, has denied any wrongdoing.

Treasury officials discussed last week whether the United States, the IMF’s largest contributor, should ask Georgieva to resign, according to a report from Bloomberg News on Wednesday that relied on people familiar with the situation.

DP World expects pressure on shipping to continue until 2023

DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, has forecast that supply chain bottlenecks that have disrupted global trade flows will continue for at least another two years.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV at Expo 2020 in Dubai on Friday, the company’s chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, said: “The global supply chain was in crisis at the beginning of the epidemic.” “Maybe in 2023 we will see easing.”

He said that the effects of the accumulated shortages and delays are reflected in the huge rise in freight shipping costs. “Shipping rates will continue to increase and shipping lines are having a great time.”

Global supply chains are struggling to keep up with demand and overcome labor disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The world’s largest shipping line, AP Muller-Maersk, has warned that bottlenecks may last longer than expected, and some companies have vowed to cap spot prices.

DP World is one of the world’s largest operators of seaports and inland shipping terminals, with operations spanning from London and Antwerp to hubs in Africa, Russia, India, and the Americas. The company recently announced a series of deals as it tries to become a more diversified and integrated logistics company.

Meanwhile, the company continues to look for ways to reduce debt and is considering offering an opportunity for international investors to buy into the Jebel Ali Free Zone, a valuable asset that has helped turn Dubai into a global trade hub, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company is also reviewing costs related to office space after effectively weathering the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Bin Sulayem said DP World has canceled plans to build a new headquarters and lease a larger office. “We’re re-engineering the way we work,” he explained. “Do we need all these offices around the world?”

Biden nominates anti-Bitcoin figure to head currency watchdog

President Joe Biden may have dashed any remaining hopes that Washington would welcome cryptocurrencies during his presidency.

Last week, the White House nominated Sula Omarova to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a nomination that offers nothing but assurance that US financial regulators will not have cryptocurrency allies among them for at least the next three years.

The Cornell University law professor’s criticism of crypto-tokens is consistent with recent statements by government regulators, where Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler previously said the market is “rife with fraud, fraud, and abuse,” said Michael Hsu, who was holding the position Acting Chief of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Sept. 21, said virtual currencies could be just as dangerous as the complex derivatives that sparked the global financial crisis in 2008.

Although the outlook for cryptocurrency has changed significantly since the end of the Trump administration, the shift has been particularly sharp in the Office of the Currency Control, which regulates national banks including JPMorgan and Citigroup. Under the leadership of Brian Brooks, who resigned in January, the Office of the Currency Control has granted limited banking privileges to crypto firms, sparking fears among traditional Wall Street players that they may soon face a new slate of competitors. A former Federal Reserve official pulled out the welcome rug.

If the Senate approves Omarova’s nomination, the Office of the Currency Control will likely go further in seeking stricter oversight of crypto-tokens, which is in line with the trend in Washington, where Gensler wants cryptocurrencies to be regulated. Like stock.

The specter of an energy crisis in Europe haunts global markets

Europe is more reliant on natural gas to heat homes and meet the energy needs of factories than ever before, and the increasing demand comes amid efforts to stop reliance on coal, and a general trend to use clean energy sources.

Winter in the northern hemisphere is expected to drive up natural gas prices in most parts of the world.

The sharp rise in natural gas prices has forced some of the fertilizer producers in Europe to cut production, with more factors expected, which may increase costs for farmers, amid the possibility of an increase in global food inflation, according to Bloomberg.

global energy crisis
There is not enough natural gas to fuel the economy recovering from the “post-coronavirus period,” and this poses obstacles to refilling depleted stocks before the December frost arrives. If the winter is cold, “the concern is that there is not enough natural gas” to use for heating in parts of Europe.

Hochstein added that for some countries, “the damage will not only be in the value of the recession but will affect the ability of European countries to provide natural gas for heating, which “affects everyone’s lives.”

Qatar’s Energy Minister, Saad Al-Kaabi, warned at an industry conference this month that the demand for natural gas is unprecedented from all of Qatar’s contractors, but “it is not possible to provide care for everyone,” he said.

It is possible that the “cold surprise” will force more energy companies to plunge into the market to buy emergency supplies of gas at high prices, and that is exactly what happened last December.

Countries are seeking to meet their energy needs in light of fierce competition for natural gas, and natural gas exporters such as Russia are moving in parallel, to increase the supply of natural gas, and the crisis is expected to worsen if temperatures drop.

The crisis in Europe portends trouble for the rest of the world, and the reason is that the lack of energy in Europe was the indicator to warn governments of the possibility of outages and total closure of factories, as for stocks in European warehouses, they reached their lowest levels “historically”, according to Bloomberg.

The concern is over the prospect of calmer weather, which could reduce wind turbine power production, while Europe’s most popular nuclear plants are being phased out, leaving natural gas topping global demand, while pipeline flows from Russia Norway is limited.

LNG importers in Asia are currently paying record prices to secure supplies, with some starting to spill polluting fuels such as coal and heating oil if they don’t get their energy.

The lack of energy in general increases the obstacles to achieving sustainable energy goals. Natural gas emits carbon monoxide, which is emitted by coal when burned.

China has not filled up stocks quickly enough despite being the world’s largest buyer of natural gas, considering that imports were double what they were last year, according to customs data.

Several Chinese provinces are also rationalizing electric power for various industries, in order to achieve President Xi Jinping’s goals in terms of energy efficiency, reducing pollution, and relying on clean energy.

Slowing flows in Brazil’s Parana River Basin have reduced hydropower production, while the Brazilian government is forced to rely more on natural gas.

While Brazil boosted gas imports to their highest levels in July, energy bills also rose. With inflation soaring, President Jair Bolsonaro’s chances in next year’s elections could be damaged.

The cost of securing Japanese government supplies has sparked political controversy in Pakistan, where opposition politicians have demanded an investigation into procurement by the state-owned importer.

The British crisis continues
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps accused truck industry representatives on Sunday of helping spark a gasoline crisis as he defended “post-Brexit” immigration policy to ease a mounting supply crisis.

High energy prices in Britain have forced many suppliers out of business, with gas prices in Europe rising 500% last year.

The prospect of accelerating energy costs, combined with backlogged supply chains and high food prices over a decade, may make more central bankers wonder whether the jump in inflation is as fleeting as they had hoped.

oil prices
Goldman Sachs raised its year-end Brent price forecast to $90 a barrel, from $80, as demand for fuel recovered at a faster-than-expected rate.

Crude traded at $79.19 a barrel, while the price of West Texas crude was at $75.08 a barrel, according to Reuters.

Goldman Sachs lowered its forecast for oil prices for the second and fourth quarters of 2022 to $80, from $85 a barrel.

While oil producers expect global fuel demand to return to pre-Covid-19 levels by next year, as the economy recovers from the consequences of Covid-19, the excess refining capacity represents an effective pressure, and oil sector leaders said that despite the continued increase in Cases of virus infection in many markets, which harmed the demand for some petroleum derivatives such as jet fuel, the consumption indicators for diesel and gasoline indicate higher growth.

Exorbitant energy prices put Europe’s climate plans to the test

The record rise in energy prices could not have come at a worse time for Europe’s ambitious new climate plan, as politicians are just beginning to talk about how to implement the world’s most comprehensive emissions-reduction strategy.

The energy crisis threatens to send double-digit increases in consumer electricity bills months ahead of the winter cold and is putting pressure on industry giants. As European governments scrambled to mitigate the impact on consumers, Greece, for example, promised support for energy bills, while threats of blackouts in the UK last week were a vivid reminder of the fragility of energy supplies.

for the European Union, which proposes banning new fossil-fuel cars by 2035, and imposing new costs on dirty home heating; The high costs of such an ambitious plan will make it difficult to persuade voters, who are already struggling with high utility bills.

“Of course, the current level of energy prices has the potential to make discussions about the climate package more complex,” said Peter Weiss, senior adviser at Rud Pedersen Public Affairs and former political assistant to the EU’s first climate commissioner. Weakening the package due to today’s energy crisis would detract from the long-term solution to reducing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels without addressing the cause of the pressure on gas supplies.”

Natural gas and energy prices have risen to all-time highs in the 27-nation region, as the economies of the European bloc recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The increase in demand comes amid limited gas imports from Norway and Russia, with some countries accusing Moscow of manipulating supplies. At the same time, the EU’s strategy to accelerate emissions reductions in every sector from transport to manufacturing and agriculture has boosted demand for carbon permits, with prices more than doubling over the past two years to new record levels.

The European Union wants to lead the global fight against climate change and to set an example for other major missions such as the United States and China, whose overarching goal of the Green Deal strategy is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The green package unveiled in July aims to align the economy with a stricter 2030 target of reducing emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels. The laws need approval by the European Parliament and member states of the Council of the European Union, with the right to Each institution is in the process of adjusting the plan, a process likely to take about two years.

US shale oil production expected to rise in October to an 18-month high

The US Energy Information Administration said that oil production from the seven major shale formations in the United States is expected to rise by about 66,000 barrels per day in October to 8.1 million barrels per day, which will be the highest since April 2020.

The administration clarified in a report that these expectations are based on production growth in the Permian Basin, the largest US shale oil field, where estimates indicate that

Production will increase by 53 thousand barrels per day next month to 4.8 million barrels per day, the highest since March 2020.

Production in most other shale areas is expected to remain stable or register small increases.

The Energy Information Administration also forecast that US natural gas production from shale basins will rise to a record level for the fourth consecutive month.

The government agency indicated that total natural gas production will rise by 0.2 billion cubic feet per day to 87.3 billion cubic feet per day in October.

3D render of pump jacks in an oil field

Emirates Airlines increases flights to regain the crown of long distances

Emirates Airlines will increase its flights to Europe and other regions as the world’s largest long-haul airline before the Coronavirus pandemic takes a less cautious stance about returning its services.

The Dubai-based company is bringing plans to increase its capacity to more than 10 European destinations and will operate 50 flights a week to Germany alone by the end of next month. It will return to Dusseldorf and Hamburg with giant Airbus A380 aircraft.

As Europe eases travel restrictions, state-owned Emirates is ramping up flights even as a mutant delta strain strains demand in the US and new lockdowns in Asia, areas the airline is helping to connect to western cities via its hub in the Middle East. . It is reported that it has restored about 90% of its pre-pandemic network, albeit at a slower pace.

different approach
This expansion comes after Emirates Airlines took a more conservative approach at the beginning of the epidemic, which prompted its Gulf rival, Qatar Airways, to advance on intercontinental routes, occupying the position of the number 1 air cargo company in the world.

Emirates will add flights to cities such as Barcelona, ​​Rome, and Dublin and restore services to Newcastle upon Tyne in England, bringing the number of weekly flights to the UK to 77 by the end of October.

Other new operations will include the resumption of flights between the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Dubai, and from Oman to Sao Paulo.

Doha-based Qatar Airways said in an email that it also plans to bring back more routes and sees “strong passenger demand for services in both Europe and the United States.”

How do political developments in Afghanistan affect the performance of markets?

Investors add the evolving situation in Afghanistan to the list of global issues to watch. Although strategists do not expect an immediate impact on the markets after the Taliban effectively take control of Afghanistan, they do point to long-term scenarios, such as the possibility that Afghanistan will once again become a breeding ground for international terrorist attacks. other.

The militant group’s rapid advance into the void left by the withdrawal of US forces and NATO are also pressing President Joe Biden, who said only last month that there was little chance of the Taliban overrunning the country.

The concern is growing about the situation in Congress, where Biden is already facing hurdles from some lawmakers to enact his more than $4 trillion economic agenda.

Stocks fell on Monday, while the dollar rose on fears that the delta shifter is slowing the recovery from the pandemic, with the latest wave of geopolitical tension adding to the cautious mood.

TOPSHOT – Taliban fighters stand on a vehicle along the roadside in Kandahar on August 13, 2021. (Photo by – / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

great power image
The collapse in Afghanistan raises questions about the United States and its role in the world, according to Louis Vincent Gave, CEO of Gavekal Capital. He wrote in a memo that if it were like the “Suez moment” of 1956 – a reference to the crisis that marked the decline of Great Britain as a world power – there could be far-reaching repercussions.

If the days of the single superpower world are over, the fall of Kabul will be “downward for the dollar and US Treasury bonds, as well as bearish for the countries that derive their strength from the US security umbrella.”

Conversely, the Chinese bond market and the renminbi will be bullish, as China is the rising power in Asia.

It will be bullish for the ruble and the bond market in Russia, Gav added. Oil will also benefit, given the potential for escalating tensions in the Middle East. It will be bullish for gold, as it is the anti-fragile asset in times of geostrategic struggle.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Biden urged the Senate to pass a law requiring background checks for gun purchases a day after a shooting at a crowded Colorado supermarket killed 10 people, including a police officer. Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

pressure on Biden
“It may be a loss of face for President Biden, but then again, Trump has been down the same path,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital. “What happened increases pressure on Biden’s effort to get as much of his spending program through, to help take the focus off Afghanistan,” Oliver added.

local politics
The key question in Afghanistan is poor implementation and what it reveals about the flawed decision-making process in the White House, according to Sebastian Galley, chief macroeconomic analyst at Nordea Investment Funds. Meanwhile, he said, “Democrats will continue to rally around the president until this crisis is not an issue of domestic policy.”

Terror fears
Ilya Spivak, head of Asia Greater at DailyFX, said Afghanistan’s connections to the broader markets are rather small. “The effect will be there when the region becomes a springboard for terrorism again,” he said. Spivak added that investors are likely to be reluctant to trade heavily because of this “unless something new happens in this regard.”

limited attendance
The limited presence of international companies in Afghanistan necessarily limits their broader impact on the markets, said Jeffrey Haley, senior market analyst at OANDA Asia Pacific. “I seriously doubt that any of the big companies have any large-scale operations there,” he said. “Unfortunately, the biggest exports from Afghanistan will be human beings,” he added.

China’s foreign exchange reserves rise to $3.236 trillion by the end of July

China’s foreign exchange reserves rose at the end of July to $3.236 trillion, compared to $3.214 trillion at the end of June, according to data from the People’s Bank of China.

Average estimates were $3.2275 trillion (range $3.185 to $3.26 trillion, according to 12 economists).

The value of foreign exchange reserves at the end of July rose by about $21.9 billion from the end of June, according to Bloomberg data.

Gold reserves at the end of July amounted to 114.372 billion dollars, compared to 110.45 billion dollars at the end of June.

Gold reserves settled at the end of July at the same level as June of 62.64 million ounces.

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